Books

Book Review: Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson by Katherine G. Johnson

I’m not sure how to start the review. Should I mention the movie I haven’t seen? Or the other book I haven’t read? Should I speculate about the audience this book is aimed at or about its content? Or I could use all the review space talking about Katherine Johnson’s personal history and being African American. How she saw the change happening through her parents, children, and living through that all and still being positive and open. Or should I write about her courageousness to demand to be taken into account at NASA despite being a woman and colored one? Or should I tell it all?

Or should I see her as a mathematician who helped to change the world, making it possible to go up into space and come back? The last part being the crucial one. But I think what I can instead concentrate on is her inspirational story. How listening to this book can make young children believe that despite the odds stacked against Katherine, she rose and pursued a career, formed a family, and got a happy life. That she impacted our world. As this is aimed at the younger audience, some fine details of her life might have been left out, but I don’t see this as a hindrance. She told the truth, and not always, the drama is what matters. It is the spirit of the story that has an effect. And I wished I had listened to or read this book when I was younger. It might have inspired me to reach for the moon and follow the path of a mathematician or scientist. While those are possible positions in today’s world, still women are not encouraged to pursue such avenues. I wasn’t, even when I loved counting everything and anything as a child. And Katherine was lucky; her parents wanted the best for her and saw how special she is and did their best to cultivate her mind.

I loved this book despite the tone intended for the younger children. Katherine’s story didn’t only make me see her personal history, but also the history of the African Americans. And what is a shame is that the impact Katherine has had on our world history is only dug up now.  She should have been appreciated and celebrated then beyond the walls of NASA.

Thank you for reading! I have a happy moon-full day ❤

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